I’ve traveled, watched places unfold under me, as shirts from beleaguered cases onto hangers.
Many streets left behind and those right in front reveal a tourist’s gift, unspoken surprises.
Bread, wine, flowers in paper wound in twine grow more beautiful,
As my watch, my time, grows long and further from the terminal.
Immediately, rushing over blocks cobbled and rough on my heels,
I return one last time to visit that old hotel and her permanent residents.
I stop and sit at the feet of Winged Victory, as she spans on her pedestal,
A headless ranking queen of a seedy artists’ hotel, but she’s mad you know…
A lazy outstretched arm where sensuous old ladies and tawdry little blue boys alike come to find heaven.
Some stairs usually leading to a window where I watch the crowds queue into a pyramid below,
I’m startled by a three story single, crowded room overrun by alabaster bodies twisted about, unnaturally.
White, milky skin, robed shoulders, un-uninformed guards so incongruously here for quick fixes.
A crack here, a small nick there, and a careful cleaning before they leave with what they came for –
Each goddess, poet, beggar, thinker, and creature alike, alone under watchful passers eyes,
While new coats and incarnadine daybeds like benches in a park, hurriedly restored for their arrival.
The permanent residents at the Richelieu arm, the medieval cellar, the baroque hallway, the glass palace,
With their cold white and black veined marble limbs and sad sightless eyes return tonight.
Unlike the rich blue irises stolen by the brush of a madman, or still life by
Lenses focused in vein on those bodies waiting, arms hiding their nudity,
Shame replaced their once lively, graceful likenesses stolen by angry hammers and chisels.
Once Royal,or somehow important now they share rooms with boys riding turtles,
Mary Magdalene, the prostrate bodies of beaten soldiers, and lovers’ locked in uncomfortable embraces.
Sending postcards from faraway places, you never did know who I spoke to those days,
When the crowded trains whisked me away to the sounds of your slowing breath,
Rising and fighting falling off for the night, home the cat pushing the phone away from your mouth.
And me with the entire day to find a way to bring you irrelevant souvenirs,
To somehow convince you that next year, maybe next time you accompany me here.